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New Technology in Schools: Is There a Payoff?

  • Stephen Machin
  • Sandra McNally
  • Olmo Silva

Despite its high relevance to current policy debates, estimating the causal effect of Information Communication Technology (ICT) investment on educational standards remains fraught with difficulties. In this paper, we exploit a change in the rules governing ICT funding across different school districts of England to devise an instrumental variable strategy to identify the causal impact of ICT expenditure on pupil outcomes. The approach identifies the effect of being a ‘winner’ or a ‘loser’ in the new system of ICT funding allocation to schools. Our findings suggest a positive impact on primary school performance in English and Science, though not for Mathematics. We reconcile our positive results with others in the literature by arguing that it is the joint effect of large increases in ICT funding coupled with a fertile background for making an efficient use of it that led to positive effects of ICT expenditure on educational performance in English primary schools.

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File URL: http://cee.lse.ac.uk/ceedps/ceedp55.pdf
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Paper provided by Centre for the Economics of Education, LSE in its series CEE Discussion Papers with number 0055.

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Date of creation: Jan 2006
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Handle: RePEc:cep:ceedps:0055
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://cee.lse.ac.uk/publications.htm

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  1. Angrist, J.D. & Imbens, G.W., 1992. "Average Causal Response with Variable Treatment Intensity," Papers 9234, Tilburg - Center for Economic Research.
  2. Abhijit Banerjee & Esther Duflo & Leigh Linden & Shawn Cole, 2005. "Remedying education: Evidence from two randomized experiments in india," Framed Field Experiments 00122, The Field Experiments Website.
  3. Edwin Leuven & Mikael Lindahl & Hessel Oosterbeek & Dinand Webbink, 2007. "The Effect of Extra Funding for Disadvantaged Pupils on Achievement," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 89(4), pages 721-736, November.
  4. Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2004. "How Much Should We Trust Differences-in-Differences Estimates?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(1), pages 249-275, February.
  5. Rouse, Cecilia Elena & Krueger, Alan B., 2004. "Putting computerized instruction to the test: a randomized evaluation of a "scientifically based" reading program," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 23(4), pages 323-338, August.
  6. Angrist, Joshua & Lavy, Victor, 2001. "New Evidence on Classroom Computers and Pupil Learning," IZA Discussion Papers 362, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  7. Dale W. Jorgenson & Kevin J. Stiroh, 2000. "Raising the Speed Limit: U.S. Economic Growth in the Information Age," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 31(1), pages 125-236.
  8. Alan Krueger & Orley Ashenfelter, 1992. "Estimates of the Economic Return to Schooling from a New Sample of Twins," NBER Working Papers 4143, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Thomas Fuchs & Ludger Wossmann, 2004. "Computers and student learning: bivariate and multivariate evidence on the availability and use of computers at home and at school," Brussels Economic Review, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles, vol. 47(3-4), pages 359-386.
  10. Austan Goolsbee & Jonathan Guryan, 2006. "The Impact of Internet Subsidies in Public Schools," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 88(2), pages 336-347, May.
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